Hurricane Irma

Andy Newman / Florida Keys News Bureau

It’s been almost three months since Hurricane Irma crossed the Florida Keys — and the heart of the tourism season is right around the corner. But some parts of the Keys are still cleaning up from the storm and some major resorts are still closed. 

Mark Hedden

People have asked me a lot since Hurricane Irma if it was scary to go through the storm. I was very fortunate to spend the storm in a strong concrete building, on high ground. And Key West was very fortunate, only 20 miles away from where the eye crossed the island chain we were spared the worst of the winds and didn’t see much of a storm surge.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

More than two million cubic yards of debris has been hauled out of the Florida Keys since Hurricane Irma. But many residents of the Lower Keys say they are still waiting and they are tired of living in a trash-lined landscape.

Nadege Green / WLRN

Sister Margaret Ann greets her students as they’re dropped off to school in the morning.

She helps open car doors, gushes over a student’s cute dog and warns a group heading to the Everglades on a field trip to be on their best behavior because alligators are nothing to play with.

Kate Stein / WLRN

As Hurricane Irma churned through South Florida, Patrick O'Quinn felt trapped.

He'd moved to Miami about three months before the storm and described himself as "just getting on his feet in terms of finding a place to live." As the storm bore down, O'Quinn decided to fly to Memphis, where he has family.

Rhonda Sibilia

In the aftermath of any major storm, we can expect to see many toppled and uprooted trees in South Florida. But recently one massive tree in a public park in Miami-Dade was tagged with a heartfelt plea for passersby.

Stuck on the tree were two handwritten signs reading “I’m alive. So stand me up!”

“It's a good intention,” says Adrian Hunsberger, urban horticulture agent with the University of Florida/Miami-Dade County Extension Office. “But usually if it's blown over and it's laying on its side it's really beyond salvaging.”

AP

Authorities say the deaths of 12 of the 14 Florida nursing home patients who died after Hurricane Irma have been ruled homicides.

The Sun Sentinel reports that autopsy results from the Broward County medical examiner's office were released Wednesday.

No arrests have been made. Police spokeswoman Miranda Grossman says the investigation will continue and part of that will be determining who should be charged.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

Miami-Dade needs a community-wide "culture of resilience" before the next hurricane, a county commissioner argued in a new report.

"Every individual, every household needs to have an emergency plan. And that plan needs to be communicated with somebody who’s a lifeline," Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava wrote in the report on Hurricane Irma.

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

There is still a chance for some people to sign up for D-SNAP disaster food assistance in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

Charles Trainor Jr. / Miami Herald

Before Sept. 10, the last Category 4 storm to cross the Florida Keys was Donna in 1960 — 57 years ago.

"A community loses its institutional knowledge over that time," said Martin Senterfitt, Monroe County director of emergency management. "And we start replacing it with knowledge of Category 1s and tropical storms and we start forgetting just how bad a storm can be."

Senterfitt, and everybody else in the Keys, now has direct experience of how a major hurricane can impact the low-lying island chain. Irma destroyed hundreds of homes and caused major damage to thousands more.

Florida lawmakers want to stop their colleagues from spending money meant for affordable housing on other projects. The move comes after Hurricane Irma battered and destroyed Floridians’ homes.

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities must have a generator that can run the air conditioning starting Tuesday. If not, they risk a $1,000 dollar a day fine.

WLRN

There is assistance available to homeowners and business owners who are still recovering from Hurricane Irma damage. We spoke with John Mills of FEMA and Richard Daigle of the SBA on Sundial to answer listener questions about how to get that assistance.

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

Update 11/20 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved Florida to conduct telephone interviews for individuals who pre-registered for DSNAP who also have a disability or who are over the age of 60. The lawsuit is continuing to push for registration possibilities for people who do not meet that criteria.

After Hurricane Irma, the federal government offered a food assistance program to Floridians who needed help because of the storm. The signup period for that program ended last week.

But there’s an ongoing lawsuit that might reopen registration for some people with disabilities because, the suit claims, the lines to sign up were prohibitively long.

The continuing blackouts in Puerto Rico after Hurricanes Irma and Maria have overshadowed the devastation in the neighboring U.S. Virgin Islands, where nearly 73 percent of residents remain without power two months after the Category 5 storms made landfall.

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